The Chicago Bears have taken their first step toward shaping their roster and practice squad for the 2022 season.
The Bears announced on January 11 they have signed 11 players to future/reserves contracts, including the younger brother of All-Pro pass rusher Khalil Mack, Ledarius Mack, and one of their top undrafted free agent signings of last offseason, linebacker Charles Snowden. Here’s the list of who they’ve inked so far:
- Auzoyah Alufohai, defensive tackle
- Isaiah Coulter, wide receiver
- Dieter Eiselen, offensive lineman
- Michael Joseph, cornerback
- BoPete Keyes, cornerback
- LaCale London, defensive tackle
- Ledarius Mack, outside linebacker
- Charles Snowden, outside linebacker
- Nsimba Webster, wide receiver
- Tyrone Wheatley Jr., offensive lineman
- Ryan Willis, quarterback
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Several Players Re-Signed Saw the Field in 2021
Several returning players were also promoted to the active roster at different times throughout the year in 2021. Webster (6 games) and Mack (3 games) played the most, while Coulter (2 games), Snowden (2 games), Eiselen (2 games), London (1 game), Joseph (1 game) and Keyes (1 game) also saw time in regular season games last season. Willis was also activated once, but never saw action.
Players who finished the season on Chicago’s practice squad who didn’t ink deals to return in 2022 include offensive lineman Arlington Hambright, fullback Ben Mason and preseason standout wide receiver Rodney Adams.
Rookie wide receiver Dazz Newsome and fellow rookie corner Thomas Graham Jr. had spent the bulk of the season on Chicago’s practice squad, but were both elevated to the active roster before the regular season concluded, which is where they remain. O-lineman Lachavious Simmons, who has also spent significant time on the PS, is also currently on the 53-man roster.
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Bears Will Have Very Different Roster Next Season
While the 11 players signed will likely form the core of Chicago’s practice squad for the upcoming season, there are no guarantees. Any or all of them could be let go at the team’s discretion. With the changes that are coming to the Windy City, that’s certainly a possibility.
A day after the regular season ended, the Bears announced the had fired general manager Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy. The team is now in the midst of its search for new leadership, and whomever is hired will be deciding who sticks around and who doesn’t.
“We will be thorough, diligent and exhaustive,” Bears Chairman George McCaskey said on January 10 about the team’s search for a new GM and head coach. “It will result in the best possible selections to lead the Bears to success.”
The Bears have a five-person group deciding on the new hires: McCaskey, team President Ted Phillips, Hall of Fame executive Bill Polian, Bears vice president of player engagement LaMar “Soup” Campbell and senior vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion, Tanesha Wade.
“The primary quality we’ll be looking for in both the general manager and the head coach is leadership,” McCaskey added.